India’s third-largest IT services exporter, Wipro, said on Wednesday that the UK Employment Tribunal has upheld the dismissal of one its former employees, who had filed a suit against the company claiming she was sexually harassed while being on the company’s payroll.
“Wipro is pleased that the UK Employment Tribunal has upheld the dismissal of the complainant from the services of the organisation as appropriate and rejected claims of adverse cultural attitude towards women in the organisation,” the company said in a statement.
Interestingly, soon after the news broke, there was confusion over which party had won the case, with some media reports saying “Indian woman techie wins ‘sexism’ lawsuit against Wipro”, quoting a statement issued by the woman’s counsel, Slater Gordon, in London.
Slater Gordon issued a statement that “a senior female executive who took on Wipro, a large outsourcing firm, has won an equal pay, sex discrimination, unfair dismissal and victimisation case which she brought against her former employer. “ adding that the judgment found that “direction (to sack the lady) had come from the very top and was followed through with considerable resolve.”
Wipro, however, clarified that this was not true. An email sent to Slater Gordon did not elicit any response till the time of going to print.
In October 2015, a 39-year-old former staffer of Wipro had accused the company of fostering ‘predatory and misogynistic’ culture, which forced her to work at half the salary of her male peers, and also to have a forced sexual relationship with an older colleague. She was subsequently forced to leave the company, she said, and claimed Rs 12 crore as compensation.
Wipro had said that the woman and her male colleague had been fired from their jobs after it was found that they had violated the company’s policy by having an unreported personal relationship.
Reports of sexual harassment in the Indian IT industry came to the fore in 2002, when the then Infosys’ global head of sales, Phaneesh Murthy, was charged with two cases, which Infosys settled out of court for $3.8 million. The case also cost Murthy his job at Infosys.